Campus Life

The Olive Branch: A Taste of the World

by Haley Bradfield


It’s easy to underestimate the cultural experience one can gain from a small town like Winona Lake. Yet the Village at Winona is home to many different experiences with its small businesses and shops. The newest addition to their little melting pot is a store called The Olive Branch.

The Olive Branch is the third shop of its kind, owned by Jerry and Christine Ouding. The Oudings opened their first store in Granger, Ind., six years ago and have proceeded to stake its sister shop in Goshen and now this shop in Winona Lake. “We handle everything from inventory to finances,” Jerry Ouding comments. “That’s what happens when you own a small business… you’re in charge.”

Their main products are olive oils and balsamic vinegars from all over the world, available to either buy in-store or pre-order from either hemisphere. Products for The Olive Branch are shipped to them through an importing company in California. The oils come from Spain, France, and even Japan, all displayed on the store shelves. The oils and vinegars are all arranged by flavor for the customers to taste; four of the store’s six walls are literally lined with them! Speaking from personal experience, their lemon olive oil from Tunisia is delicious . . . and the Nocellara Del Belice from Sicily isn’t bad either.

But aside from their extensive variety, The Olive Branch also offers many different salts, meat rubs and seasonings, along with pasta, sauces, relishes, and even cheesecake mixes. The variety is spellbinding, even for such a little shop. And the Grace students who work there agree.

“There’s something so special about working in a small business,” Courtney Bowden says. She and the other Gracie employees have nothing but good things to say about The Olive Branch and its merchandise. Stop by and let your taste buds take a trip around the world.